Written by Sam Dow | 5th February 2024

We know how important it is to find the right people for the job, so have you considered why you should hire an apprentice? With current skills shortages across many industries, developing those skills internally provides an attractive and cost effective people strategy as an alternative to recruitment.

A lot of people are unaware of the many benefits this can bring to a business.

Apprentices provide innovative thoughts and fresh ideas for your business, while being keen to learn new skills.

Apprenticeships are suitable for people at any age and any level so you can hire someone new or upskill an existing employee.

During National Apprenticeship Week (February 5th to 11th), employers are encouraged to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career and to match your company’s current and future needs.

If you are still wondering how offering apprenticeships can benefit your company, here are five reasons why you should hire an apprentice:

To boost productivity

Apprenticeships could give businesses of all sizes a boost amid the rising cost of living.

In a survey by Gov UK 78% of employers said apprenticeships helped them improve productivity. Apprentices will learn while working, and so means an extra pair of hands. More senior staff will be able to delegate certain tasks, giving them time to get on with their main responsibilities.

You can use a government service to hire apprentices who have been made redundant. Many of these apprentices may already have the skills and knowledge you need, so you’ll have a work-ready apprentice who can quickly add value to your business, shortening the time you’ll see a return on your investment.

Upskill and retrain current workforce

Did you know you can use apprenticeships to upskill and retrain your existing workforce? You can use apprenticeship training and funding to fill key skill gaps in your business and boost employee motivation and commitment by investing in their development.

One of your team members may be keen to get a formal qualification in their specialist area, or perhaps want to progress into a different role. There are apprenticeships from level 2 to level 7 (equivalent to a degree) so you’ll be able to find apprenticeships that suit the learning and development needs of your employees.

It’s also good to know that apprenticeships are designed by you as the employer, so they will reflect the relevant knowledge and skills that your business needs.

Boost team morale

Employee morale is an important focus for any business as it is a key factor in performance, productivity and retention. Luckily, apprentices often bring a fresh approach and a positive attitude into the workforce, which can have a knock-on effect on existing staff.

They tend to be highly motivated, committed to the company that invested in them and supportive of its business objectives, which means they’re more likely to stay with you when their training has ended. This is a driver for other staff and promotes a healthy work ethic amongst the workforce.

It’s cost effective

As an employer, you are responsible for paying your apprentice for their normal working hours but you may be eligible for support with costs of training and assessments.

The Apprenticeship Levy covers this and is paid by large employers with income of over £3 million (they pay 0.5% of their total annual).

The government will apply a 10% top up to the funds you have in your account.

For business that don’t meet this income band, they pay just 5% towards the cost of training and assessing an apprentice. The government will pay the rest up to the funding band maximum.

If you also employ fewer than 50 employees, the government will pay 100% of the apprenticeship training costs up to the funding band maximum for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and 19-24. Further details on this can be found here.

Each apprenticeship requires you to set up an End Point Assessment. This is an assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that your apprentice has learned and they will only get their apprenticeship certificate after they have passed all the elements of their EPA.

You should refer to the successful completion of the EPA within the terms of your apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice. The apprenticeship agreement is different to a normal employment contract so should you need support on setting up such an agreement, please get in touch with the Reality HR team.

There’s a lot more information available about the various types of apprenticeships, and the payments to businesses. If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].